Marlene is a member of Orange Coast CrossFit. I met her via through Justin Flynn. He just told me I had to meet this BirthFIT mom. Well, I stalked Marlene all through her pregnancy and she was a rockstar. She even did a variation of Fran one day! Marlene recently had her first baby. So Marlene, tell the BirthFIT community about your new little one- name, birth date, and something you notice already:)
We had a baby girl and we named her Harlow Braxtyn. She was born on January 23, 2013 @ 7:16 am weighing 7lbs 12oz and 19.25″. One thing we noticed right away is how alert and strong she was from day 1. She opened her eyes instantly and started looking around seeming quite interested in what was going on around her. Within a couple of days she was already starting to hold her head up.
Love that name. She sounds delightful. Throughout pregnancy I know you exercised (crossfit). Tell me about your training. Did you only do CrossFit? Did you supplement with yoga or swimming? What did a typical week look like for you?
Yes. Before becoming pregnant I had been doing CrossFit for over a year. I trained 5-6 days a week and when I found out I was pregnant I continued to CrossFit up until I was 39 weeks. While pregnant I followed the programming from CrossFitmom.com. I continued to train about 5 days out of the week up until the middle of my second trimester then I cutback to to 3 days a week up until the end of my pregnancy.
Initially it was difficult to detach myself from performance oriented goals. As my pregnancy progressed my goals quickly shifted to staying active and healthy, both mentally and physically. Most importantly, I listened to my body and scaled the workouts accordingly.
Did you have a favorite workout?
My favorite workout was “Helen meets Grace” at 26 weeks, which I completed with a partner, Pinky Bernstein, during a Barbells for Boobs competition. Although we weren’t too concerned with the competitive portion of the workout, we still finished well before many of the other teams. The other workout that I really enjoyed was a third trimester scaled “Baby Fran” which was 21-15-9 ring rows and 65lbs thrusters.
Did you have favorite relaxation ritual such as yoga, meditation, or walking on the beach?
I have two English Bulldogs and taking them for walks or to the beach was my relaxation ritual while pregnant.
What did your diet look like during your pregnancy? Were you more ‘strict’ during those 9 months or was it more difficult to eat clean during pregnancy?
I credit my nutrition for my successful pregnancy and the overall health of my daughter Harlow. I ate very clean throughout my pregnancy and maybe even improved my nutrition after finding out that I was pregnant. I followed a relatively Paleo plus grass-fed dairy diet. I closely followed recommendations from the Weston A. Price Foundation, Marks Sisson, Chris Kresser, Whole9, and Robb Wolf. I really didn’t have the cravings that most women talked about. I always thought about how what I ate would effect Harlow. I had set dietary staples that I had to consume daily such as three omega 3 + DHA eggs, 1-2 glasses of organic DHA milk, full fat greek yoghurt, berries, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed butter, spinach, and a few other items. For the most part, by the time I was done consuming the required items, I wasn’t hungry and definitely didn’t have cravings. Usually I had a hard time consuming just my staples for each day. I supplemented with prenatal vitamins, blood builders, and DHA that were derived completely from real food sources with no added chemicals. Mega Food is the brand of prenatal vitamins and blood builders that I used.
Did you utilize anyone for bodywork and/or alternative therapies during pregnancy (chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc.)?
I did not utilize anyone for bodywork or alternative therapies only because I felt great during my entire pregnancy. It wasn’t until the last week and a half that I started feeling uncomfortable.
Did you take any child education or birth prep classes to prepare you for birth, babies, and beyond?
Jon and I did take child education classes at Hoag that helped us prepare for breast feeding, child birth, and what to expect once the baby arrives. We also read the books What To Expect When You’re Expecting, What To Expect The First Year, and Baby Wise. I HIGHLY recommend the book Baby Wise if you want to get your little one on a good feeding and sleeping routine.
Much of training CrossFit involves a lifestyle both in and out of the gym. How much would you say a lifestyle that supports vigorous exercise, strong community ties, and a priority in nutrition played a role in the success of your pregnancy?
CrossFit as a whole had a lot to do with the success of my pregnancy. It was the only form of training that I did, and I can honestly say that I had a relatively easy pregnancy with no complications because of my training.
CrossFit definitely has strong community ties and you do become very close with those that you train with. Some of my closest friends are people that I met and train/trained with at Orange Coast CrossFit, and I know that some of those friendships are going to last a lifetime. I’m pretty sure that everyone at my baby shower is or at one time was a member at OCCF. The entire box was super supportive throughout my entire pregnancy.
Regarding nutrition, I became a lot stricter with what I ate once I started CrossFit and it did transition into my pregnancy. The community as a whole has done so much to raise our awareness and change our perspective on what is truly healthy. I’ve learned so much about the importance of real, whole, organic food and the importance of lifestyle factors such as reducing stress and increasing sleep. Jon teaches lifestyle and nutrition seminars at OCCF and is constantly reading and researching the latest and greatest to ensure that we maximize our health.
It seems like that which helps athlete’s in a workout, for example, would also help a woman in pregnancy. From focusing on the task at hand, to trusting the process and fighting through to the end. In what ways, if any, was giving birth like the mental game that plays out in a WOD?
Much like that feeling in your stomach right before “Fran” the fact that you’re about to give birth can be a bit unnerving. CrossFit obviously prepares you physically for childbirth, but more importantly it gave me the mental edge and confidence that I needed. Like a brutal WOD, I knew childbirth was going to hurt and challenge me, but I felt confident that I could fight through the pain and finish the task as hand.
If you would like, describe your labor and delivery.
Due to the fact that I was past my due date by over a week, my doctor decided to induce labor. When I went into the hospital to get induced I was only 1cm dilated. It took 28 hours to get me to dilate to 10cm. During the process the nurses kept telling me that I was most likely going to end up with a C-section because most baby’s get “stressed” and it becomes risky for the mom and baby to go through such a long process. I was reluctant to get a C-section and told the nurses and doctors that if my baby showed no sign of stress I wanted to continue with the process and deliver vaginally. Harlow showed no signs of stress at all during the entire process. After reaching 10cm, Harlow was born within 30 minutes. The nurses couldn’t believe how well Harlow held up over the 29 hour labor. Apparently working out until 39 weeks paid off for my baby and me.
Anything else you want to add for the BirthFIT community or advice for new mamas?
Continue to work out. Follow websites that encourage pregnant exercise such as BirthFit and CrossFit Mom. Eat the very best food that you can afford. All too often people spend money on everything except for quality food. Do your research and educate yourself on all aspects of your pregnancy… You and your child’s life depend on it. You’ll be amazed by Dr. Google. Have a primary, alternate, and tertiary plan for all aspects of your childbirth. Stick to your guns; if you have a specific plan for childbirth then follow it. Breastfeed at all costs. Read and follow the book “Baby Wise.”
50 air squats
40 box jumps or step ups
20 Power cleans (BB, DB)
Notes on Workout
Advanced athlete: 75#BB or 35#DB
Intermediate athlete: 45#BB or 25# DB
Beginner athlete: 35# BB or 15# DB
Box for box jumps should be no higher than 20″.